Chicken Salad with Tarragon

Inspiration for good food can be found anywhere, even Starbucks, where I had a delicious chicken salad sandwich recently. The key ingredients other than chicken? Sweetened dried cranberries and tarragon.

French tarragon is a distinctive herb, with a slight anise or licorice aroma. We don’t use it that often; I grew some last year and don’t think we used it more than once or twice the whole season. But it does pair well with chicken. The dried cranberries add some sweetness to the chicken salad, and the lemon juice just enough acidity to brighten all the flavors.

Chicken Salad with Tarragon Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.


  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat*
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried tarragon (or 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

* Poach about 1 1/2 lbs of skinless chicken breasts and thighs, preferably bone-in (for flavor), in a quart of salted (2 teaspoons) water, for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from water, let cool, remove bones, chop the meat into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes.


Mix all of the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning. Serve with lettuce for a simple salad, in a tomato that has been cut open for a stuffed tomato, or with slices of bread for a chicken salad sandwich.

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Showing 4 of 46 Comments

  • Dawn

    I used to get the tarragon chicken salad at Au Bon Pain all the time. They didn’t use the cranberries, but they did add sliced almonds…delicious!

  • alamobecky

    I love this kind of recipe … just one or two “special” ingredients that send an average chicken salad sandwich into the $9.75-if-I-bought-it-in-a- bistro category. I’m going to add some chopped toasted pecans in mine. Thank you, Elise.

  • Chriss

    If you like, you can add with some toasted almond slivers. It adds another layer of flavor. I’ve enjoyed chicken salad like this for years. I love this site…so many great (and delightfully uncomplicated) ideas!

  • ICE

    Adding walnuts to this recipe works well, too.

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